The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has called on the government to confiscate lands meant for illegal mining popularly known as galamsey for the State.
He indicated that the government had borrowed $100 million to restore lands affected by galamsey activities and was using taxpayers’ funds to repay those loans.
The Minister made the statement when addressing galamsey issues onn lands at the launch of Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) Tax and Good Governance Month in Takoradi.
He observed that chiefs and landowners who allocated lands for such activities know the lands become unusable afterwards, therefore “as part of Good Governance Month, it was good that the lands were seized for the State.”
Mr Darko-Mensah pointed out that the government, as part of its priorities, was poised to safeguard the environment as well as protect its natural resources for now and posterity.
He said the government revenues were protected by State institutions like the Ghana Audit Service headed by the Auditor General, the Courts and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC),whereas the GRA was the institution responsible for collecting tax revenues for the government.
According to him, an online initiative to get entities to file their tax returns, pay their taxes regularly and comply with the rule of law would not materialize if the GRA failed to get the right messages across to taxpayers and the public.
He stressed that the mobilization of domestic revenues was crucial for the funding of government budget, execution of priority projects to spur economic growth and creation of employment in the public sector.
Mr Darko-Mensah added that supporting the private sector to succeed especially, with the one hundred and seven 1D1F entities and major projects in the Western Region could be achieved through the mobilization of domestic revenue.
He highlighted the perception of the misuse of public funds and stated that the State had mandated institutions clothed with power to protect its funds, which he believed was progressing because the government had created the enabling environment for the institutions to work.